Oh, Those OUGH Words!

The phonogram OUGH is one of the toughest in the English language, with at least six different pronunciations.

Although (long o) I ate when I was through (ew) ploughing (ow) the garden, the meat I bought (short o) was so tough (short u) it made me cough (short o).

In some words:

  1. ough = ow (gh is silent): plough, bough, drought.
  2. ough = ō (gh is silent): dough, although, thorough.
  3. ough = ŏ (gh = /f/): cough, trough
  4. ough = ŏ (gh is silent): ought, bought, fought, brought, sought, thought.
  5. ough = ŭ (gh = /f/): rough, tough, enough.
  6. In the word “through,” ough = ū (gh is silent)

Practice OUGH words at Quizlet, and highlight the OUGH words in the sentences at BBC Bitesize.  Watch the video below from the “I Love Lucy” show.

When we learn about diphthongs, the main sound of OU is OW, but it can vary, as seen in these OUGH words. A few more ways that OU can vary are seen in the Nessy Reading Strategy video on OU and in the sentence below.

I thought (short o) our (ow-r) chicken soup (long u) for the young (short u) soul (long o) could (oo) be about (ow) cool enough (short u) to pour (long o-r).

A worksheet for Oh, Those OUGH words! is available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Learn more about the Phonics Pow Toolkit, how to get free word sort games and more free resources.

Author: dailyplanit

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at www.phonicspow.com. In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

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